Ohio Dominican's student-athletes enjoyed their most successful year since transitioning to the GLIAC and NCAA Division II. OhioDominicanPanthers.com counts down the best moments from this past year.
#4 – Huge Win Over Grand Valley Catapults Football Into National Spotlight
In 2012, Ohio Dominican's football team went toe-to-toe with No. 4 Grand Valley State, ultimately falling 46-41 in the waning moments of the fourth quarter in front of over 10,000 fans in Allendale.
The highly anticipated rematch took place on Sept. 28, 2013 in Columbus, with both teams unbeaten and Grand Valley ranked ninth in the nation. However, there would be no need for late game heroics in this contest.
Boosted by both a punt return and kickoff returns for touchdowns, ODU grabbed a 17-0 first quarter lead and never looked back, rolling to a 57-14 victory and garnering attention from media outlets across the country.
Justin Bell tied a GLIAC record with his 91-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter, and Abe Johnson's 93-yard kickoff return in the second quarter answered a Grand Valley score and gave the Panthers a 17-point lead. GVSU would get no closer, as ODU took a 33-14 lead into the half, then scored all 24 points of the second half to close out the win.
ODU ran for 234 yards and threw for 241 more in a balanced offensive attack, while the 57 points Grand Valley allowed was its most since the 1987 season. Quarterback Mark Miller completed 23-of-29 passes, Brandon Schoen ran for 115 yards and Dez Stewart, Casey Williams and Johnson each had at least 65 yards receiving on the day.
The defense played lights-out throughout the contest as well, limiting the Lakers to just 324 yards of offense. Cody Culbertson would pick up conference accolades for registering nine tackles (3.5 for loss), a sack and a tackle in the end zone for a safety, while Da'Twane Harris and Billy Eakins each had interceptions as well.
The Panthers would enter the national rankings the following week and would stay in the top 25 for the duration of the year.